[Interviewed via e-mail August 28, 2011]
Jasmine: I'd like to start by saying, thank you for giving me a moment of your time for this interview! Please, tell me a little bit about yourself: name, age, where you're from, and how did you hear about Vegging for Health?
Valentina: My name is Valentina and I'm 17. I'm born, raised and currently living in Sweden although I my roots are from South America. I was actually searching on "Vegetarian" on tumblr, and a post about Vegging for Health appeared, so I clicked. :) And, since English really isn't my native language, I apologize for any mistakes that I may do!
Jasmine: How did you become interested in vegetarianism and how long have you been vegetarian?
Valentina: I have always been interested in vegetarianism, ever since I was little. I actually even tried becoming a vegetarian when I was around 9, but unfortunately it only lasted for a couple of days. And when I was 13 I saw this movie, called Earthlings, and it really settled it, so right after I saw that movie, I decided that this was it and I became a vegetarian.
Jasmine: You mentioned to me that you're the only vegetarian in your family/friends. Are your loved ones supportive of your choice to be vegetarian?
Valentina: My loved ones are all very supportive of my choice. Some of them admires me for it, because they would like to be vegetarians but they just can't do it for their own reasons. But I feel that I'm very lucky that my family and friends support me, because I think it's important that people support it instead of arguing with me.
Jasmine: Do you think it is easy to adopt a vegetarian life style? How did you make the change?
Valentina: Well, as I was only 13 when I became a vegetarian and I did it all alone without any help, it was very hard to adopt to the life style. I had to find out about what I should eat on my own, and since I really liked meat before, so it was a bit hard to change it to food that I didn't like so much (veggie's and stuff). But as I've been a vegetarian for 4 years now I'm starting to me less picky and enjoying my vegetarian meals very much. :)
Jasmine: What kind of difficulties do you face being vegetarian?
Valentina: The difficulties I face is my health. Since I'm a teenager I'm still pretty picky when it comes to food, which is not good since I need to eat things that replace the vitamins and iron that meat contains. But other than that I can't really think of any difficulties I've had.
Jasmine: In our first e-mail, you describe yourself as a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Thus meaning you do consume dairy and eggs. In addition to dairy and eggs, what kind of foods do you consume regularly?
Valentina: I have a hard time to think of something that I consume regularly. But I do eat a lot of rice and spaghetti.
Jasmine: As mentioned earlier, you're the only vegetarian in your family and friends. Has your vegetarian diet influenced those around you to eat more of the same foods as you do?
Valentina: I can't say it has. Although they are sometimes very interested in tasting the food that I am eating. But so far none of them has become a vegetarian or anything like that yet.
Jasmine: Some people seem to think that vegetarian food means: salads, breads, boiled veggies and spices. What would you like to tell them?
Valentina: That it's not true. Vegetarians can eat the exact same food as everyone else, all you have to do is just to remove the meat. I eat everything that I ate before I became a vegetarian, with the only difference that my plate doesn't have meat.
Jasmine: Living in Sweden, you said there is a very good variety of vegetarian products (soy and quorn "meat"). What are some of your favorite products available in your area?
Valentina: My favorite products is probably quorn fillet, cause it gives you a good chance to spice it your own way. And it's really delicious and it's done in about 5 minutes. I love it and I can it eat with anything, salad, regular meal, soup. It's absolutely delicious.
Jasmine: What are some of your favorite meals/dishes? (Homemade, store bought, restaurant.)
Valentina: I don't really eat a lot outside, so I often eat at home where my mom cooks for me. But something that I really like at the moment is potato gratin with either soy sausage or quorn fillet and then a fresh, delicious sallad with tomato, lettuce, avocado, cucumber and lemon.
Isn't she just the cutest? I was so excited to have Valentina on Vegging for Health after I received her e-mail. I hope you all enjoyed her interview! If you, or anyone you know, would like to be featured in a VfH interview please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.